The weather has always had a significant impact on our health, but with climate change, the weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable and extreme.
Unusual hot spells in the summer can cause heat exhaustion or dehydration, while unusually cold spells in the winter can lead to hypothermia.
So how do different kinds of weather affect your health? Let’s take a closer look at how extreme temperatures can impact your health and how to prepare yourself and your family if the weather worsens.
Climate change and its effect on health
As the weather changes, so do your health. Unfortunately, extreme weather events are also bound to happen, with temperature fluctuations, humidity levels, and air quality varies from season to season. All these factors can have a detrimental effect on your health–whether it’s asthma or hay fever. And if you’re pregnant or have children, you need to be even more careful about what you’re exposed to when it comes to allergens because they can have severe consequences for the baby’s development. Find out which seasons pose the most risks to your health with our guide below.
A storm comes with thunder, lightning, and heavy rain. And can cause flooding and landslides that can affect communities for years. They also put people at risk of drowning or injury.
These natural disasters can seriously damage our homes, lives, and mental health, from power outages to flooding.
In extreme cases, they can even lead to trauma-related disorders such as PTSD. In addition, according to research, 2 to 3 percent of people suffer from storm phobias, which also include dread of tornadoes, hurricanes, and other climate phenomena. And 85% of people claim to experience anxiety as storms approach or are predicted. The dread of thunder and lightning is known as astraphobia. Although it primarily affects kids, many adults nevertheless experience a fear of thunderstorms.
Forty million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Suppose you have been facing anxiety or depression for an extended period. We suggest that you talk to a professional about your worries.
Often anxiety leads to stress, which can be physically and mentally harmful. The usage of drugs and alcohol can also amplify these conditions. However, consulting a professional and learning about new coping mechanisms can help you to maintain your mental health in various weather conditions.
For instance, facilities such as Vista Pines Health offer mental health services for individuals facing anxiety or depression. Their services also include medication management, group therapies, and help to provide a better quality of life.
Here is how you can figure out if you have astraphobia.
- Anxiety that lasts for at least six months
- Avoiding seeing lightning and thunder, even in videos or photos
- A sudden sense of fear or distress when a thunderstorm is forecast
- The panic that disrupts your life despite your knowledge of your safety
Hot weather can lead to heat exhaustion and sunburn. You may also feel tired or irritable, have a headache, or become disoriented. But heat stroke is the worst illness that can be caused by heat.
It happens when the body loses the ability to control its temperature. It means that the body’s temperature rises quickly, sweating doesn’t work right, and the body can’t cool down. When heat stroke starts, it can take the body 10 to 15 minutes to reach 106°F or more. Heat stroke can cause severe disability or death if it is not treated right away.
According to some statistical methods, the United States experiences more than 1,300 deaths yearly due to excessive heat. To prevent heat-related illnesses from happening to you this summer (or in any season), take precautions by drinking plenty of fluids before going into the sun. Wear loose clothing that covers your skin; always carry water with you so you stay hydrated! If you’re experiencing a heat-related illness, get to an air-conditioned space as soon as possible and call emergency services for help.
The following are signs of heat stroke:
- Speech slurring, perplexity, and altered state of mind
- Consciousness loss
- Hot, dry skin or excessive sweating
- Extreme body temperature
The cold weather is the most difficult to cope with because it’s often hard to stay warm. You may get a cold or the flu more easily during these times, especially if you have chronic health conditions. Prepare for cold weather by dressing in layers that can be added or removed depending on how warm you feel.
Wear a hat and gloves and a scarf as an extra layer. Experts typically suggest remaining indoors if the outdoor temperature is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit or the windchill is below -18. Drink hot beverages like tea, coffee, or cocoa to help keep your body warm. However, avoid drinks with alcohol because they dehydrate your body, making it harder for your immune system to fight diseases like the flu.
Typical onset times for common cold symptoms are one to three days following virus exposure. The following are the signs and symptoms, which can vary from person to person:
- Runny or congested nose
- Throat discomfort, cough congestion
- Slight headache or minor bodily discomfort
- A minor fever
Wash hands with soap before eating and after coughing or sneezing to prevent infections from spreading around the family or office space. Watch for signs of frostbite if you are out in the cold for long periods, such as redness, skin tingling, and numbness. These can indicate serious medical issues like hypothermia.
Different weather patterns can have a drastic impact on your health. For example, when the air is polluted, you’re forced to breathe in particles that may cause cancer, asthma, or heart disease. In addition to the air quality, temperature changes also affect your health. Extreme cold temperatures are hazardous for those with asthma.
In contrast, extreme heat can aggravate diabetes and high blood pressure. These are just some examples of how climate change can harm your health; make sure to take precautions if you know that a change in weather is coming soon!